Archive for May, 2010

Around the World – Belize

The Great Blue Hole, an underwater sinkhole off the Ambergris Caye.

So far in our armchair journey around the world, we’ve visited Asia, Africa, and Europe. This month we bring things closer to home by visiting Central America – specifically, Belize. Belize is closer to  home in more ways than one since, as part of its colonial heritage, it is the only Central American country in which English is the official language. Here are a few other interesting tidbits:

  • The Belize flag is the only national flag that has a representation of the human form.
  • Belize is the only Central American country that does not border the Pacific.
  • There are several major Mayan Classic Period ruins in Belize.


An Archaeological Guide to Northern Central America: Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador by Joyce Kelly

Belize by Vivien Lougheed

The Crystal Skull: The Story of the Mystery, Myth and Magic of the Mitchell-Hedges Crystal Skull Discovered in a Lost Mayan City During a Search for Atlantis by Richard M. Garvin

High Adventure by Donald Westlake

In the Heat by Ian Vasquez

Jaguar: Struggle and Triumph in the Jungles of Belize by Alan Rabinowitz

The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman’s Fight to Save the World’s Most Beautiful Bird by Bruce Barcott

The Possibility of Everything by Hope Edelman

Time Among the Maya: Travels in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico by Ronald Wright



Belize News

Belize Tourism

UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office: Belize

World Factbook, CIA: Belize

Wikipedia: Belize

Happy Mother’s Day!

If you’re a mother, you may look upon this day with mixed blessings. Sure, you might get breakfast in bed and some great hand-made gifts (or poetry) from the kids, but what will the kitchen look like when the day’s over?

Regardless of the mess, we give our thanks to all the women out there who have birthed, burped, spanked, shushed, supported, and loved us through the years.  Not every mother is Mother Teresa, Mother Jones, or Mother Goose – but a woman with a combination of the three is probably a pretty formidable person!

In honor of the mothers out there, we’ve compiled a few good reads all about mothers – whether they’re strong, funny, or just a little scary. So carve out some time to spend on your own with one of these books (annotations from NoveList Plus):

Angela’s Ashes – Frank McCourt

The author recounts his childhood in Depression-era Brooklyn as the child of Irish immigrants who decide to return to worse poverty in Ireland when his infant sister dies.

Beloved – Toni Morrison

After the Civil War ends, Sethe longingly recalls the two-year-old daughter whom she killed when threatened with recapture after escaping from slavery 18 years before.

The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother – James McBride

A young African American man describes growing up as one of twelve children of a white mother and Black father, and discusses his mother’s contributions to his life and his confusion over his own identity.

The Dress Lodger – Sheri Holman

In a novel set in the filth and depravity of London’s mean streets during the Industrial Revolution, a prostitute borrows a blue dress to attract a higher class of client and is shadowed through the streets by an evil old woman hired by the dress’ owner to keep an eye on her.

The Good Mother – Sue Miller

Waging a custody battle for her four-year-old daughter Molly, Anna Dunlap finds herself caught in a conflict arising from her former husband’s and in-laws’ self-righteous definition of a good mother and her own sexual needs.

The Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan

Encompassing two generations and a rich blend of Chinese and American history, the story of four struggling, strong women also reveals their daughter’s memories and feelings.

Little Women – Louis May Alcott

Chronicles the joys and sorrows of the four March sisters as they grow into young women in nineteenth-century New England.

One True Thing – Anna Quindlen

After caring for her mother during her final, painful battle with cancer, Ellen Gulden discovers many surprising things about her mother’s life and finds herself accused of murdering her mother in a mercy killing.

Patron Saint of Liars – Ann Patchett

Pregnant and alone, Rose seeks sanctuary at St. Elizabeth’s, a home for unwed mothers in Habit, Kentucky, where she at last finds a place to put down the roots she has never felt she had.

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 21 Words or Less Terry Ryan

The author describes her mother Evelyn’s struggles with poverty in the 1950s as she tried to build a happy home for her ten children, with the help of wit, poetry, and prose during the contest era of the 1950s and 1960s.

The Secret Life of Bees – Sue Monk Kidd

After her “stand-in mother,” a bold black woman named Rosaleen, insults the three biggest racists in town, Lily Owens joins Rosaleen on a journey to Tiburon, South Carolina, where they are taken in by three black, bee-keeping sisters.

Sons and Lovers – D.H. Lawrence

Paul Monel’s childhood and early manhood in the English midlands are deeply affected by his devotion to and concern for his domineering mother.

Then She Found Me – Elinor Lipman

A novel of family relationships offers a perceptive study of the emotions and dynamics of family life.

The World According to Garp – John Irving

T. S. Garp, a man with high ambitions for an artistic career and with obsessive devotion to his wife and children, and Jenny Fields, his famous feminist mother, find their lives surrounded by an assortment of people including teachers, whores, and radicals.